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Yamalube Fact Sheet

Generally when you purchase oil for your engine the first thing you look for is the manufacturers recommended viscosity or basic ‘thickness’ rating as put forth by the Society of Automotive Engineers or SAE. A common oil rating of 10W/40 means the oil is rated at a 40 viscosity and the 10W gives it a secondary cold temperature rating of 10 W (W for winter). The next thing most of us consider is a good brand name. Most car owners have a ‘trusted’ oil which they have come to depend upon and simply are not comfortable purchasing ‘Lubi-Lube’ for the new family SUV. They opt instead for peace of mind choosing a recognized, brand name oil. Finally oils are rated under an API scale for application to gas or diesel engines in trucks and autos. SG and more recently SH, API ratings are the most applicable for motorcycles but do not take into consideration the specific requirements of same.

Beyond these criteria we enter the world of price marketing and ‘snake oil’ with a plethora of special additives and formulas offering greater performance, economy and longevity. Please consider the following facts when you browse the oils at your favorite supplier and remember, YamahaGenuineParts.com has a good stock of our premium YAMALUBE lubricants if you decide not to gamble.

First let’s take a look at the base differences between an automotive engine and a four stroke motorcycle or snowmobile engine.

Start up:

Automobiles use a dry starting system, where the starter motor engages a ring gear on the flywheel residing on the exterior of the engine. The starter motor itself has a device commonly called a ‘bendix’. It is the job of the bendix to engage the fly wheel with a sliding gear when electricity is applied to the starter and disengage the gear using a spring when the electricity is terminated. The disturbing sound you hear if the ignition key is accidentally turned with the engine running is the starter gear being ground into the flywheel which is spinning at a faster speed and does not allow it to engage.

Motorcycles use a ‘wet’ starting system. The starter gear lives inside of the sealed engine cases with the engine oil. Generally the starter is engaged to a ring gear affixed to the clutch or crankshaft through a special friction-roller or ‘sprag’ clutch. The sprag clutch will engage the engine in only one direction and spins freely in the other. When electricity is applied to the starter the sprag clutch spins the engine until it ‘fires up’. When that happens the engine rpm exceeds that of the starting system and the sprag clutch free wheels isolating the starter motor from the crank forces. Now here’s the key, the sprag clutch lives in the crankcase oil with all the other engine components. It is designed to operate with a minimal but crucial level of friction which is ultimately determined by the oil.

Most automobile oils have opted to include an additive to reduce engine friction. These friction reducers or ‘friction modifiers’ assist the overall efficiency of the engine to improve fuel economy and are recommended by the manufactures of automobiles to help decrease fuel consumption and lower emissions. In a modern motorcycle, ATV or snowmobile, the same friction reducers can have a negative effect on the sprag or ‘friction-roller’ clutch possibly creating excessive slippage at start-up and premature wear of the starter system parts.


Automobiles with very few exceptions use one of two common types of transmissions. The standard transmission is comprised of a manual, ‘dry’ clutch and a gearbox, both of which reside outside of the engine. The alternative is the automatic transmission which is comprised of a fluid torque converter replacing the dry clutch and a planetary gear system in place of the gearbox. Just like the standard transmission these components reside outside of the engine and require dedicated special lubricants to function reliably.

The standard transmission often uses a form of liquid grease or ‘hypoid’ oil designed to protect the gears from the tremendous pressures and ‘sheer-force’ created as they are engaged and the oil is compressed and sliced. This special lubricant is often in the 80 to 90 viscosity range where most auto engines run oil rated at 20 to 40. Automatic transmissions run extremely light oil rated at well under 10 viscosity with special additives like anti-foaming specific to this application.

Motorcycles use a drive system similar to that of a standard transmission but with a couple of very significant differences. The clutch is contained within the engine cases running in the same oil as the engine components as well as the gear box. The oil not only has to lubricate the moving engine parts, it must cool and protect the clutch plates plus resist the extreme sheer forces acting upon the transmission gears. The formulations used to blend standard automobile oils do not address these conditions and in the case of additives like friction reducers can actually accelerate the wear and adversely affect the performance of the motorcycles power transmission.

NOTE: there are a few exceptions where motorcycles use a dry clutch or external gearbox but these are not common.

Engine performance:

Now consider the performance level of your bike. Multi-cylinder sport bikes often operate in rpm ranges far higher than most automobiles. The average four cylinder car engine will shift under 5000 rpm and cruise merrily along around 3000rpm at hi-way speeds. The rpm in larger 6 and 8 cylinder engines will be somewhat less. An R1 motorcycle can shift out at over 10,000 rpm and make maximum power approaching 12,000rpm. V-twin cruisers run at lower engine speeds closer to automobiles but unlike a car many of these are ‘air-cooled’ and don’t run at the consistent temperatures found in liquid cooled automobiles. This all equates to motorcycles generating more energy and heat when compared to most automobile engines. Your choice of oil type and additives should also consider what rpm you’re motor runs at and the type of operating temperature ranges that may be required.

Our YAMALUBE lubricants are refined and blended to the exacting specifications as determined by our engineers. The formulas used in this process are supplied to select refineries around the globe as an exclusive Yamaha ‘recipe’ and the resulting oils must meet or exceed our stringent factory testing parameters. We are confident when we recommend YAMALUBE lubricants for use in your Yamaha. You will be getting the best protection and long term performance with no possibility of oil-related premature wear or component failure. The tried and true oil brand keeping your auto happily humming down the highway may very well be the cause of your motorcycles demise. You can depend on YAMALUBE.


  • Refer to your owner’s manual or contact your dealer to determine the correct oil viscosity for your climatic and operating conditions. NOTE: This may change with the seasonal temperature fluctuations in different contries.
  • Avoid oils which contain ‘friction reducers’ unless otherwise specified in your owners manual. NOTE: Some automatic scooters recommend friction reducers for optimum fuel mileage. Oil companies typically label their containers to indicate to addition of friction reducers. This may simply read ‘energy conserving’, be forewarned it will contain friction modifiers.
  • Change your oil as recommended and prior to off-season storage. Oil doesn’t get ‘used up’ with regards to its lubricating ability. Instead it becomes contaminated with acids and other ‘nasties’ as a result of combustion. Never store your engine with old contaminated oil in it.
  • Inquire what brand of oil is ‘on tap’ at your dealership. NOTE: Most shops stock oil in bulk containers (drums) for service work. YAMALUBE is the popular choice for the majority but not all bulk sales.
  • When in doubt, insist on genuine YAMALUBE.
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